Hey there ~ ! This fanfic is called [PROPHECY / S H I N] and is set in the world of the D Gray Man anime/manga - I am not following canonical events however (but not by too much *laughs*). Shin is Japanese for prophecy btw. This is my first D Gray Man fic (cue fleeing? ^^') so be... nice? *gulps* Anyways, I hope you enjoy this fic and reviews would be much appreciated :L
Also, this fic is set after the talk between Cross and Allen about the 14th but I am not following canon after that point in time - i.e. the 'death' of Cross, events in Paris with Timothy, the awakening of Alma Karma etc. do not occur or at least occur differently or in a different order. I have my reasons :L
[SUMMARY]: When the Order discovers a series of poems giving clues to the whereabouts of the Heart, the lives of the exorcists helping them begin to spiral out of control. Can the ultimate sacrifice be made or will the word 'nakama' ultimately lead the whole world to destruction and ruin?
[PAIRINGS]: Lavi x Allen, Kanda x Lenalee (plus some slight Allen x Lenalee and Lavi x Lenalee)
[WARNINGS]: M rated for language, violence and implied sexual situations (yaoi and het). Don't like, don't read.
[MAIN THEME]: Red - Already Over
[DISCLAIMER]: I, unfortunately, do not own D Gray Man or any of the characters that Katsura Hoshino-san has created.
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I'd give it all to you
Letting go of me
Reaching as I fall
I know it's already over now
Nothing left to lose
Loving you again
I know it's already over, already over now
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Chapter 1 - 109
A cold winter sun shone down on the Black Order that bleak December day, the biting wind causing the returning group of Exorcists and Finders to hurry towards the many floored black building with their coats wrapped around themselves tightly. The mission they had just gotten back from had been terrible; the Innocence they had been sent to find had already been destroyed by the Noah Devit and Jasdero by the time they had reached the Franco-German border, and the two men had clearly been expecting them if the huge numbers of Level Twos and even Threes were anything to go by. All but two of the group's Finders were eradicated by the Akuma and Chaoji and Marie sustained injuries bordering on fatal. Only Kanda's powers as a Second Exorcist had kept him reasonably intact.
They were losing the war; that much was obvious. So far the Order had only gathered 30 pieces of Innocence, including the 15 used as Anti-Akuma Weapons by the Exorcists. 3 pieces were of an unknown state, 50 pieces had been destroyed by the Noah and there were still 25 pieces of Innocence yet to be found by either side. The Order only had 10 Exorcists that could go out in the field and only 4 Generals remained alive. The Heart was still unknown to both the Order and the Noah. And the situation wasn't improving.
The returning group looked up. By the gate of the Headquarters building stood a girl of around 17, her shoulder length black hair whipping about her face in the cold wind.
"Che, just let us in Lenalee. It's fucking freezing out here."
"Nice to see you too, Kanda." Lenalee murmured sarcastically, moving aside to let the bad-tempered Exorcist past. Looking back down, her eyes widened when she spotted the barely conscious Chaoji and Marie being half-carried inside by the two remaining Finders.
"What happened? Are they okay?" she asked in alarm, helping the Finders inside. She frowned when she saw the many cuts and bruises on the two Exorcists.
"We were ambushed by Akuma and two Noah. The Innocence had already been destroyed by the time we got there," one Finder explained, carefully lying Marie on a stretcher so a nurse could take him to the infirmary. The other Finder did the same with Chaoji. Lenalee said nothing.
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Lenalee sat in troubled thought in the Cafeteria, her food turning cold as the minutes passed. Why had that Finder's news made her feel so anxious? Yes, they had lost another piece of Innocence and both Marie and Chaoji had been badly injured. And, yes, the Noah now seemed to anticipate all their motives and ambush them at every possible moment. But the Heart was still hidden and no more Exorcists had been killed; that had to count for something. But, no matter how hard she tried, Lenalee could feel only pessimism towards their situation. There were only 25 pieces left. And the Heart could be any of them. Or...
The raven haired Exorcist shuddered. She could still remember that hushed conversation between Lavi and Bookman. She hadn't meant to overhear; she had been serving the Science department coffee and they so happened to be sitting nearby within earshot.
"So... you think she's the Heart then."
"I have my suspicions. Her Innocence acts sentiently and protected her twice from harm. No equipment type should be able to do that. In addition she is the first person to have Crystal Type Innocence."
"Yet Allen's Innocence protected him and prevented him from dying too. Couldn't he be the Heart?"
"No. If the 14th truly resides within him, I don't believe he would have been able to synchronise with the Heart - the two forces within him would be too opposite to each other. However, there is much that we are speculating. We will just have to wait until some solid evidence is found."
Being an Exorcist and fighting the Akuma and Noah was frightening enough. If she was the Heart... Lenalee shuddered again. It was a position she would not wish upon anyone, never mind herself. To be synchronised with the source of all Innocence, to be the sole desire of both the Black Order and the Noah... She would never be free from this war. Never. Her fists clenched under the table.
Startled, she looked up. Standing in front of her was Allen, a look of concern on his face as he placed his impossibly full tray of food on the table and sat down. Lenalee gave a small smile.
"I'm fine, don't worry about it. Just tired," she explained quickly, eating her cold tomato soup as if to prove that there was nothing wrong. Allen shook his head slightly with a smile. "So, how've you been lately Allen? It's seems like ages since we've been able to catch up."
"It does, doesn't it," Allen replied with a laugh. "I'm... okay. The amount of missions lately have been pretty heavy but it could be worse."
For a while they sat in amiable silence. Then, while continuing to eat her soup, Lenalee glanced up and met Allen's gaze. They both knew something was bothering the other and that neither of them felt okay, yet they both knew that they couldn't voice their troubles. So they pretended everything was fine, lying to feel some sort of comfort. But it worked. Lenalee and Allen smiled.
"Your next mission is to go to a village called Saint-Vincent-de-Paul in Aquitaine, France. A Saint is believed to have been born there, hence why the villagers re-named their home from Pouy to Saint-Vincent-de-Paul. We believe there to be a piece of Innocence residing within the area which is stopping anyone from entering the local church. You will be going as a 6 man team by Ark, train and foot and make sure you complete this mission as quickly as possible."
Allen, Lavi, Miranda, Kanda, Link and Bookman all nodded at Komui. The raven haired Chief took the manila folders from the 5 Exorcists and the single CROW and gave them a small smile.
With that, they left Komui's cluttered office and headed towards the main hall where Allen could summon an Ark gate to Paris. Linking his hands behind the back of his head, Lavi turned towards Allen with a grin.
"Been a while since we've been on a mission together, ne beansprout?"
"The name's Allen! You're almost as bad as Kanda..." the white haired Exorcist exclaimed, giving Lavi a half-arsed shove whilst trying not to smile. It had been a while and, though he wouldn't admit it in his company (because he'd take it the wrong way), he missed the red head's company at times. Emphasis on the last part.
"What was that, moyashi ?" Kanda asked with a glare. Allen turned towards him indignantly before receiving a harsh glare from the blonde CROW stomping beside him.
"All three of you are being pathetic. Carry on and we'll never reach the main hall, never mind France." Link snapped. Lavi, Allen and Kanda fell silent. Until...
"Hey, Two Spot, why're ya tagging along anyway?"
"My name is not Two Spot!"
"Yeah, sure... Hey, you and Allen can come as a pair!"
"Shut up Lavi!"
Just as Link and Allen both tried to restrain themselves from hitting the smirking Bookman-in-training, they reached the main hall. It was alive with activity; returning Exorcists and Finders, nurses carrying the injured to the infirmary, members of the Science Department travelling from the European Branch to the Asia Branch and vice versa. Pushing their way through carefully, they stopped in front of a spot reserved for them and quietly waited as Allen sung the 14th's Lullaby in his head in order to open an Ark Gate. Soon enough, a white gate with the number 9 appeared in front of them. Without a word, Allen stepped through followed by Link, then Miranda, Lavi, Kanda and Bookman last of all.
Their mission had begun.
"So, here is the plan for the next few days: when we get to Bordeaux in 6 hours time we will walk the final 142 kilometres of the journey. If we follow the main roads heading south-west from Bordeaux, we should reach Pouy in 2 and a half days worth of travelling if we only stop at Belin-Béliet tonight and Onesse-et-Laharie tomorrow night. The land is pretty flat so we should make good time." Link explained, pointing to the various cities and villages on a large map of France in front of him. "Can you make an Ark gate straight to the Order from Pouy, Walker?"
Allen nodded in reply. The others all tried not to grimace. 142 kilometres in 2 and a half days was no easy feat and, even if the land was flat, the weather would certainly slow them down along the way.
"At least we can spend the next 6 hours doing nothing," Lavi grumbled. Bookman promptly hit him round the back of the head.
"Lazy idiot! For that, you can spend the next few hours writing records!"
"Eh? Lǎo tóuzi, that's harsh!"
"No it isn't. Now come along. Or do I have to pull you along by the ears like Matron?"
"Ahhhh I'm coming I'm coming!" Lavi yelped, leaping up from his seat as if ants had just bitten his behind. Giving the others a quick wave, the red head apprentice followed his master into the next carriage. Miranda giggled.
"Is Lavi always so hyperactive?" she asked Allen, smiling. The white haired Exorcist nodded, grimacing a little. There had been so many occasions where Lavi had refused to stop talking on train journeys, even when Allen looked like he was already half-asleep and in dire need of rest. And let's not forget the constant invasion of his personal space and lewd teasing remarks that bordered on being inappropriate. Miranda laughed at Allen's expression.
"D-don't get me wrong though! He's still a good friend, he just needs to calm down a little." Allen replied quickly, waving his hands in front of him.
"As do you, moyashi."
"The name's Allen, you idiot! How many times do I have to tell you?"
"You're the idiot, idiot."
"Oh, that's really inventive Kanda. You're certainly not very intelligent, are you?"
"Keep it up, gonkurame ! I'll use Mugen to carve you a new belly button!"
"Hah, I'd like to see you try!"
"Mugen Unsheathe, Innocence Activate!"
"Innocence Activate, Crown Clown!"
"Alright, stop it RIGHT NOW!"
Allen and Kanda both froze, weapons pointing at each other's throats, turning to glare at Link who had interrupted their fighting... again.
"Do I have to seal the both of you?" the blonde CROW murmured darkly, cracking his knuckles. Allen and Kanda shook their heads, albeit relunctantly. "Good. Now sit down and be silent. We have a long day ahead of us."
Both Exorcists complied, glaring at each other nonetheless.
The next few hours passed by in almost complete silence. Allen spent his time sleeping, head lolling against the window. The others simply sat in silence, gazing out the window or at nothing in particular within the carriage. Eventually, after nearly 4 and a half hours, Lavi and Bookman re-entered the carriage carrying several rolls of parchment as well as pots of ink and quills. Lavi looked exhausted and rather depressed which improved both Kanda and Link's moods vastly. Allen began to snore.
"Hey, Miranda, can ya budge up a bit so I can sit down?" Lavi asked, receiving a nod from the brunette in reply. When Lavi noticed the fast asleep Allen, his lips pulled up into a grin. "Man, beansprout sure likes to sleep huh."
Pulling out a quill and pot of ink, the mischievous future Bookman leant over and started to draw all over Allen's unsuspecting face, sniggering. Before Lavi could finish writing 'I am a beansprout' on Allen's forehead, a gloved hand shot out, punching Lavi square between the eyes and sending him flying towards Link and Kanda sitting across from them. Miranda looked like she was having a heart attack.
"Owowowowowow did you have to hit me with your left hand? You're such a jerk!"
"What do you think you're doing, Lavi?"
"You were asleep so I thought it'd be fun to draw on you!"
"What's wrong with you? Y-you don't just draw on people while they sleep!"
"... Why not?"
Allen slapped his forehead with a hand and sighed exasperatedly while Lavi chuckled like an idiot. Deciding to give-up, the white-haired Exorcist sat back down, using his sleeve to wipe off the drying ink on his face. Looking out the window, he noticed that the beautiful French countryside was slowly giving way to more urbanised settlements; they were nearing the outskirts of Bourdeaux.
TheGare de Bordeaux Saint-Jeanwas alive with activity when the Exorcists got off of their train. The afternoon sun shone down brightly through the grimy windows, illuminating the busy station as the local people boarded or waited for their trains. Gripping his suitcase tighter, Allen followed the others through the crowd towards the exit. When they finally managed to get outside, Link took out his map and studied it carefully. After about a minute of silence, the blonde put the map away, nodded to the rest of the group, and set off alongside the others down the main road leading out of the city.
There now lay 142km between them and their destination. Once they reached the outskirts of Bordeaux they'd have to walk in a south westerly direction towards the small town of Belin-Béliet. The going would be reasonably okay since the land was flat for the most part. If it rained heavily, however, they would have to deal with flooded tributaries and lots of mud. And it often rained in this region, known locally as Gironde. Even as they started to leave Bordeaux behind dark grey clouds could be seen on the horizon.
When the group were about 4 hours away from Belin-Béliet, the pitch black darkness punctuated only by the red, white and yellow of Lavi, Allen and Link, the rain began to fall. 10 minutes later, it was chucking it down. The group's mood sunk. As the hours passed, Kanda and Allen continued to bicker incessantly, Lavi seemed to find it necessary to comment on everything and anything they crossed, Miranda had slipped and fallen in the mud so often that her Exorcist uniform now matched her brunette hair and both Bookman and Link looked like they were on the verge of having aneurysms. So, when they did finally arrive at the Chambre d'Hotes à LilaireinBelin-Bélietat around midnight, all 6 members of the group couldn't be happier to have reached their first checkpoint. Upon reaching the quaint little inn, a smiling unshaven blonde man in his mid twenties came to greet them.
"Bonjour, mes amis. How can I help you?" he asked in a lilting French accent.
"We'd like some rooms for the night." Link answered bluntly, looking at the reception with a mild look of disdain at how French it all looked. Lavi rolled his eyes.
"Bien sûr, monsieur. How many rooms?"
"As many as you can offer 6 people."
The Frenchman scratched his stubbled chin thoughtfully. "We only have 4 rooms free at the moment, I'm afraid."
"Fine. We'll take them." Link replied, turning his nose up. "You'll be paid by the Black Order upon our return there in a couple of days time."
"E-ehh? Butmonsieuryou cannot just stay for free and expect me to wait upon a simple promise for payment!" the man spluttered, giving the blonde CROW a disbelieving look. Link scowled.
"You will have to wait! We are without money and do not have the time to deal with the likes of you currently."
"Excuse me, bâtard! No matter what supossed order you come from, I have a business to - "
"Back down, Jacques."
A slightly younger man with a less distinctive French accent, short messy brunette hair and brown eyes stepped forward from a door to their left, holding a bundle of blankets under his left arm.
"Louis! But - "
Louis gave the blonde inn keeper a glare before giving the bedraggled Exorcists a small apologetic smile.
"My apologies, Clergymen. My good friend here," the man answered, elbowing the Frenchman in the stomach, "was not informed of your arrival. You may have the rooms; they can be found at the end of the corridor over there. I've prepped them with blankets so no need to worry. Breakfast is served at 08:00. Oh, and the shower is next to the kitchen, mademoiselle," the man explained, giving the mud covered Miranda a sympathetic look. She scarcely noticed.
"Thank you!" Allen and Lavi answered simultaneously, both looking like they were going to cry in pure happiness. The brunette gave them a nervous smile.
The group left the two inn keepers to talk, or argue judging by the angry mutters they were giving each other, and headed to their respective rooms. Except Miranda, who headed to the shower with plodding feet and an exhausted expression.
"Who's sleeping where?" Lavi asked, stifling a yawn as he looked at the others questioningly.
"I will be sharing a room with Walker," Link replied immediately, sending the white haired teen a distrustful look that said teen ignored.
"As long as I'm not with the moyashi, I don't care," came the curt reply from Kanda. Allen scowled.
"The name is Allen, you thick-skulled moron!"
"... What did you just call me?"
"Well, if you're too stupid to catch on quick enough..."
"Do you want me to cut you to shreds ? !"
"Like hell you'll be able to!"
"I've had enough of this!"
Both teens froze, surprised. Standing with a livid expression between them was Bookman, eyes dark with annoyance. Lavi stepped back a metre or two fearfully.
"Kanda, Allen and Lavi - get in this room," Bookman snapped, pointing towards a door to their immediate right. "Link and I shall share this room to our left, and Miss Miranda will take the last one."
Before anyone could argue, the old man entered the room to the left of him and dragged Link in with him. Lavi, Allen and Kanda entered the other, shutting the door behind them.
"Is Bookman always this scary when he's angry?" Allen asked, blinking. Lavi nodded, looking traumatised.
"Never annoy a tired Gramps. Trust me."
The next day came far too soon in Lavi's opinion. The night before had been pretty much spent trying to ignore Allen and Kanda's nearly incessent bickering. Sitting down in the communal dining room with a huff, he ran a hand through his messy red hair and picked up a slice of toast.
"I am so damn tired..."
A couple of minutes later a half-asleep Miranda stumbled into the room and sat down beside him with a yawn.
"Guten tagLavi. Did you have a good night's sleep?" she asked, picking a croissant from a nearby plate. Lavi laughed.
"I shared a room with Allen and Kanda, what do you think?"
"I should have guessed as much," Miranda replied with an amused smile. Just then, both Allen and Kanda walked into the dining room, looking annoyed with each other already. Sitting down as far away from each other as possible, Allen across from Lavi and Kanda beside Miranda, they ate their breakfast in stony silence. Lavi and Miranda blinked.
"A-are you two okay?" the red head asked tentatively, noticing the ferocity (and speed) with which Allen was eating. The white haired teen gulped down a glass of water and smiled.
"I'm fine." he lied, slamming his glass down loudly and carrying on eating. Lavi sighed. Before Louis the inn keeper, who had been standing near Allen with a mortified look at the amount of food he was eating, could have a heart attack, Link and Bookman entered the dining room cloaked and ready to go.
"It is time to head off, all of you," Bookman called. The others begrudgingly stood up and abandoned their breakfast. Just as the group were about to leave once they were wearing their cloaks and carrying their belongings, Louis and Jacques appeared behind them with a hamper filled with fresh fruit and cheeses and bottles of wine and water. Allen and Lavi's faces lit up.
"We wish you luck on your mission, Clergymen," Louis said with a small smile, handing the hamper to Allen. The white haired Exorcist returned the smile as he and the others started to walk down the path towards the nearby road.
"Bonne chance, mes amis! Our house is always open to you!" Jacques called out, waving.
The Exorcists waved back as they headed down the road. The sun was shining, all traces of the rain from the evening before drying away in the morning sunlight, a light wind carrying the smell of the cheese in their hamper down the road as they walked. They still had a way to go until Saint-Vincent-de-Paul but, even so, they all felt much happier than they had the day before.
The rest of the day passed with little incident. They all enjoyed eating the food from the hamper by the side of a nearby stream at lunchtime (though Allen complained that he was still hungry afterwards), Lavi actually kept his mouth shut for at least an hour, Miranda only tripped once and Kanda and Allen only argued 20 times or so. They reached Onesse-et-Laharie by about 9 pm and the inn where they stayed was comfortable and the chef there did excellent food and happily cooked mountains of food for them.
The next day dawned with overcast skies and bitterly cold temperatures. The Exorcists left early, at about 6 am, to head to their final destination, drawing their cloaks around themselves tightly against the freezing wind. A thick mist covered the ground, hiding their surroundings. Lavi drummed his fingers on the head of his hammer uneasily.
"Something's going on here alright..." the future Bookman murmured. Kanda narrowed his eyes and gripped his sword firmly with a gloved hand.
The clock on the tower of the Pouy Church chimed 3 times as the Exorcists reached the small village of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul. An old man with a stooped back and walking stick greeted them at the village gates.
"Welcome Exorcists to the recently re- named village of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, that was formerly known as Pouy. We are grateful to have you here."
The man led them slowly, limping as he walked, towards what looked like the village center. Haggard people dressed in ripped clothing stood in the doorways of small cottages, staring at them with hollow eyes as they passed. Miranda gulped. They soon reached a small church with a tall clock tower, its stone bricks gleaming with frost and frozen ivy leaves. The old man turned around.
"This is Pouy Church. We have been unable to go inside of it for a good couple of months now, which is why we look so downtrodden; we need our place of Christ back. Please Exorcists... save our church!" the man pleaded, his eyes desperate. Kanda rolled his eyes, stepping forward.
"Get out of my way! Mugen Unsheathe, Innocence Activate!"
Running his index and middle fingers along the blade of his sword, Kanda activated his weapon and swung it in front of him with a swift flick of his hand. Calmly, showing only composure on his face, the Japanese Exorcist walked towards the door of the church and opened it. Almost instantly a large force propelled him backwards, sending him flying into Bookman who caught him with a slight wince. Kanda shoved the old man away with a scowl.
"Che. Six Illusions! First Illusion: Netherworld Insects!"
Small many fanged insects materialised from Kanda's sword, flying towards the open door of the church with a hiss. Before they could enter the church, they were destroyed with a bright green flash. Cursing, Kanda repeated the move only to achieve the same result. However, the third time he did so, a slight cracking sound could be heard. Kanda smirked. Taking the sound as a good thing, Lavi took out his hammer from its holster and Allen raised his left hand.
"Innocence Activate, Crown Clown!"
"Big hammer, little hammer: Grow, grow, grow!"
Allen's arm transformed, his sleeve disappearing to reveal a thin black arm and long clawed hand, a white cloak with a furry collar appearing around him. Lavi's hammer grew in size significantly. The red head adjusted his eye patch with his free hand and gave Allen a grin.
"Rock paper scissors?"
"Sure," Allen replied with a laugh, shaking his head slightly. Soon enough, Allen lost - you couldn't really cheat at rock paper scissors. Smirking triumphantly, Lavi stepped forward. Waiting until Kanda stopped his onslaught on the door momentarily, Lavi raised his hammer into the air and twirled it.
A variety of seals appeared around the top of the hammer, spinning with it. Gripping the handle tighter, Lavi jumped up and hit one of the seals with his hammer.
"Direct Fire Seal!"
The red head swung the hammer in a circle, a red seal showing the kanji for fire burning brightly on its faces. With a loud smash he hit the doorway with his hammer, fluorescent flames fighting against the green glow of Innocence, visible cracks of emerald light appearing in the open doorway. Panting slightly, Lavi turned around and gave Allen a grin.
"Think ya can finish the job, kid?"
"Of course. And stop calling me that." Allen replied, giving the red head a quick elbow in the stomach. Lavi winced. Stepping past the keeled over Lavi and Kanda (who seemed very annoyed that Lavi and Allen had gotten involved at all), Allen raised his left arm.
With a quick flick of his wrist a brightly shining white cross appeared on the doorway and, with a flash of white, the cross exploded. Something shattered. Stepping backwards, Allen noticed that the cracks were gone and a dull green glow illuminated the area around them. Lavi holstered his hammer.
"Too easy..." Allen murmured, eyes narrowing.
Warily, the group of Exorcists entered the church, leaving the villagers outside - normal humans couldn't go near Innocence. The church was small and barely furnished, the only decorations being the stained glass windows and a single statue of Jesus at the top end of the church. Before its feet lay a fluorescing green object; the Innocence. Grinning triumphantly, Lavi walked forwards and, bending over, picked up the shard of Innocence. Then he froze. Tucked under the shard was a slip of paper, folded up and stained with age. Two Hebrew symbols were written on the outside.
"Hey Gramps, what does this say? I can't read Hebrew." Lavi asked quietly, walking towards Bookman and handing him the slip of paper, the Innocence held tightly in his free hand. The old man frowned then blinked, eyes widening.
"It says 'the Noah'"
The silence that descended upon the church was deafening. With pursed lips Bookman opened up the piece of paper carefully, making sure not to rip the paper.
23 8 5 14 20 8 5 13 21 19 9 3 15 6 2 19 20 18 15 25 5 18,
16 12 1 25 19 5 15 18 1 12 12 20 1 18,
1 14 4 2 14 7 15 6 1 20 8 15 21 19 1 14 4 25 5 1 18 19,
7 9 22 5 19 2 1 3 11 23 8 1 20 23 5 8 15 1 18,
6 15 21 18 20 5 5 14 23 9 12 1 15 13 5 15 14 5,
15 14 5 23 9 12 1 15 13 5 15 14 5 - 8 21 14 4 18 5 4 1 14 4 14 9 14 5,
1 14 4 1 12 12 23 9 12 12 6 1 12 12,
1 14 4 18 5 20 21 18 14 20 15 19 15 13 5 20 8 9 14 7 13 15 18 5.
"It's in code..." he murmured, handing the slip of paper to Lavi. He frowned, eyes narrowing. Just as Lavi handed the code to Allen, a look of confused understanding on his face, Bookman saw a faintly drawn symbol in the top right hand corner of the paper. He froze.
"Allen, could you hand that to me please?" Bookman asked, voice quiet. Allen complied, frowning a little. Inspecting it closer, his heart beating faster and faster, Bookman's eyes widened as he confirmed his suspicions.
"What is going on? Bookman?" Link asked, stepping forward. Miranda, who had been standing at the back of the group, stepped forward too, looking confused. Bookman looked up, his eyes meeting Lavi's, then Link's.
"Written upon this piece of paper is a numerical code, 'the Noah' written in Hebrew and a symbol... the symbol of the Heart."
All stood still.
Bookman was tired. In fact, he hadn't been so tired since he first took Lavi on as an apprentice and had to put up with his daily antics, which were far more annoying than at present (which some would find hard to believe). He had barely slept since they had returned from Saint-Vincent-de-Paul. De-coding the poem had taken little effort - the numbers resembled the letters of the alphabet so the poem read as such:
When the music of the destroyer,
Plays for all to hear,
And the being of a thousand years,
Gives back what we hold dear,
14 will become 1,
1 will become 109,
And all will fall,
And return to something more.
It had been child's play. The meaning for the most part, also, seemed easy to understand. The destroyer was Allen Walker; his full title being the Destroyer of Time. The reference to music indicated Allen's connection to the Musician. The being of a 1000 years was the Millennium Earl. The 14 were the Noah, the 109 the pieces of Innocence. But one thing kept bugging Bookman as he sat in the Black Order's library; what did the poem mean by 14 becoming 1 and 1 becoming 109? And what of the world ending also? Was the Heart really all that they assumed it to be? Bookman frowned, eyeing the small slip of paper and the translation that he had made with thoughtful eyes.
"Hay is for horses, brat!" (AN: See end)
In the doorway of the Library stood Lavi, a number of scrolls under his arms as well as a small black box. Bookman scowled.
"What are the contents of that box, Lavi?"
"Nothing really. It's not important." the red head replied calmly, walking towards Bookman and setting the scrolls down on his table, tucking the box in his trouser pocket. Scowl deepening, Bookman decided to drop the subject momentarily; he'd find out what his apprentice was hiding soon enough. Noticing a scroll full of numbers and random addition, the old man raised an eyebrow.
"Should you not be trying to figure out the meaning of the clue opposed to adding up like a small child?" he asked, mildly amused. Numbers had always fascinated his apprentice for some reason and teasing him about it had always been a source of entertainment for the man. Lavi pouted.
"I was just messing around, jeez. Get off my case, will ya!" Lavi mumbled, crossing his arms childishly. Bookman tried not to smirk. Just as Lavi was going to give a retaliating comment about Bookman's hair, a flustered Arystar Krory stumbled into the library, hair askew and cheeks flushed as if he'd been running. The red head chuckled.
"You okay there, Krorykins?"
"I-I'm... ahh fine... We have... a new... mission..." Krory replied, panting. Lavi groaned.
"Already? We only got back from our last one yesterday!" he complained, fighting back the urge to slam his head on the desk. Bookman simply sighed. Abandoning their scrolls of parchment, the two members of the Bookman Clan followed Krory to Komui's office.
When they reached the unbelievably messy paper strewn office of their leader they saw that they were in a group with Lenalee, Allen (again) and a little boy of only 9 years or so. He had long blue hair tied up in a ponytail and, oddly enough, a circular jewel stuck on the center of his forehead. The boy in question was pouting.
"Ah! Thank you for getting them, Krory." Komui said cheerfully, clapping his hands together. Krory gave an exhausted smile in reply.
"So... what's our mission now, brother?" Lenalee asked.
"You need to go to the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple in Khajuraho, India. Our Finders stationed in the Madhaya Pradesh noticed activity that could indicate the presence of Innocence within the area," Komui replied, handing the 5 Exorcists manila folders containing the mission brief. The young boy raised an eyebrow at pictures of a number of erotic sculptures that seemed to be from within the temple.
"Aren't religions supposed to be against this sort of thing?" the boy questioned. Lavi patted him on the head with a laugh.
"Kid, the sculptures are all about love - the main aspect of most religions. Plus, the sculptures are really old and things were different then anyway. Unfortunately..."
"'Unfortunately'?" Lenalee echoed, cracking her knuckles menacingly. Lavi gulped.
"Um um a-anyway, kid, what's your name? Are you our latest recruit or what?" the red head stammered, changing the subject quickly to avoid being pummeled. The boy crossed his arms.
"The name's Timothy. Nice to meetcha."
"We discovered him in Paris whilst you were at the other end of France - he can transfer his soul to other people's bodies as well as Akuma. He can destroy them from within using Innocence." Komui explained, ruffling Timothy's hair fondly. The boy kicked Komui between the legs in reply. Lavi and Allen winced.
"S-so, all we need to do is go to the temple, find the Innocence and come back in one piece?" Allen questioned, giving Komui (who was now curled up in a ball on the floor) a sympathetic look. Komui nodded.
"You spent quite a bit of time in India with General Cross, right Allen? Could you make an Ark gate near to the temple?" Lenalee asked, picking her brother up from the floor.
"I've never been to the Madhaya Pradesh area before, but I spent quite a bit of time in Delhi and we can travel by train easily from there." Allen explained, his expression turning depressed at the mention of his master. Lavi and Lenalee sighed exasperatedly.
"R-right guys, off you go! Ow, ahh good luck!" Komui said, standing up with a wince.
The main station within the city of Delhi could not have been busier. Though the winter cold held Europe in it's icy grip, the temperatures in India that day were almost unbearably hot. The Exorcists soon found themselves wishing that their uniform was any colour but black.
"Why must the Innocence be in such a hot place?" Timothy whined, holding onto a water bottle like it was a life line. Allen turned around and gave him a smile as they waited for their train to the town of Satna.
"You'll get used to the heat eventually, Timothy."
"Ahh, our train's here!" Lenalee cried, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear as their train came hurtling into the station. Within a couple of minutes they were onboard the moderately cool train. They were meant to have been in the first class carriage but the local people were not fond of the Exorcists – they were affiliated with the Catholic Church, after all, and the area was mostly Hindu. So, instead, they had ended up in the second class carriage amongst the civilians of Delhi. It was very crowded. In fact, very crowded would have been an understatement.
"I... can't... breathe..." Lavi wheezed, stuck between two rather large business men carrying suitcases. Allen tried not to laugh.
"Oh deal with it, brat. We only have 13 hours left of the journey to go," Bookman replied, giving his apprentice a scolding look. Lavi pouted.
"Says the one sitting in a chair." the red head mumbled.
The old man simply ignored the comment. The hours passed reasonably slowly, the early morning sunshine giving way to the afternoon and then the evening. By the time the Exorcists reached the station at Satna, the sun had set and night was fully upon them. The Exorcists got off of the train and gave a sigh of relief.
"Ahh, to be able to breathe normally again..." Lavi murmured, stretching his arms upwards with a relieved smile. The others, apart from the lucky Bookman, did the same.
"Are we going to the temple now or are we going to rest in an inn for the night?" Krory asked quietly, flicking his fringe out of his eyes. Bookman scowled in thought.
"I think we should rest. The temple is not going anywhere and we must be at full strength tomorrow in case of a battle." the old man replied. The rest of the group smiled in relief.
After a little way they found a small hotel called the Hotel Om Palace. It was only two floors high and made of brick, but the sign saying 'fully air conditioned rooms' warded off any doubts that they had. Upon entering the establishment, a small man in his forties with a walking stick came to greet them with a large grin.
"Welcome, dear customers! How may I be of assistance this evening?"
"We're from the Black Order. We need accommodation for this evening for all of us," Bookman replied, parting his travelling cloak so the man could see the crest on his uniform. The room fell silent.
"We don't like your kind here," the man murmured, giving the crest and the entire group an apprehensive look. "Wherever you go you bring death and destruction to all that help you..."
"We mean you no harm, sir," Timothy said quietly, looking at the man with what could only be described as puppy dog eyes. "We're on our way to the town of Khajuraho tomorrow and just need some rooms for this night only. You do not need to provide us with food or anything else if it bothers you."
The man shook his head slightly. "I will not have any customer staying here not try our chefs' legendary food! You may stay here, Exorcists. But if you cause any problems, you will be sorting them out on your own." he answered quickly, looking to the side. The Exorcists nodded.
Their rooms could have been better – they were small and barely furnished. Krory swore fervently that he spotted a cockroach crawl into a hole in the corner of the wall in his room. But it was to be expected. Though the Exorcists were greeted warmly in most places in Western Europe and North America, a lot of areas that were not fans of the Catholic Church, or Christianity in general, did not welcome them with open arms. They would have to deal with any discomfort whilst away from home.
They had been given 3 rooms. Bookman and Lavi shared one, Allen and Krory shared another, and Lenalee and Timothy shared one together. When they all settled down in their respective rooms for the night, Lavi noticed that Bookman was still cloaked and booted, as if he was about to head out somewhere.
"Where ya going, Gramps?" the red head asked, cocking his head slightly. The old man gave him a serious look.
"The poem that we found in France has been bothering me. I feel like it is part of a bigger picture, that we're missing something important from all of this. There is a library here that has been used by the Bookmen for centuries; I will be going there now for a little while to gather some information." Bookman explained quietly, adjusting his cloak. "If I am not back by tomorrow morning, I trust that you will have all your wits about you to record what needs to be recorded."
"Yeah, yeah, Gramps, no need to tell me that," Lavi replied, rolling his eyes. "Don't go get yourself killed, okay?"
"Pah, I do not need such warnings, brat," Bookman replied, giving his apprentice a light slap across the head. Lavi winced. As the old man left the room though, Lavi noticed a small smirk on his lips. The red head smiled.
The door shut with a slight creak, leaving Lavi alone. Lying back with a huff, the red head stared up at the ceiling for a while before reaching into his trouser pocket to pull out the little black box that he had been hiding from Bookman since that morning. Opening it up, the dim light from the moon outside reflected on the face of a beautiful compass made of silver. Lavi held it up, smiling. As he turned the compass over to see the back of the object, looking at it with a slightly torn expression, the engraving on the back seemed to gleam in the moonlight. Allen Walker.
"That idiot better like this…"
Suddenly, a knock on the door resounded throughout the room before it opened. Slightly panicked, Lavi shoved the compass underneath his pillow and sat up just as Lenalee walked into the room. He gave the girl a smile.
"Hey there. Can't sleep?" he asked, noticing her weary expression.
"Timothy's snoring like there's no tomorrow, so I thought I'd come and bother you for a while; Allen and Krory are already asleep." Lenalee explained, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. "Where's Bookman?"
"He had to head out somewhere for research. He said he might not be back in time for tomorrow but that we should go on without him if that happens," Lavi answered, stretching a little. Lenalee sighed. Just as she made her way to sit down on Bookman's bed she spotted the black box lying on top of Lavi's bedsheets. Lenalee cocked her head.
Cursing inwardly at his carelessness and knowing that Lenalee would realise instantly if he lied, Lavi gave her a sheepish smile as he took the compass out from under his pillow and handed it to the girl. Lenalee observed it curiously then gave Lavi a smile and raised eyebrow when she saw who the compass was for.
"How much did this cost, Lavi? This is made of pure silver... And you got Allen's name engraved on it too." Lenalee murmured, her curiosity heightening when she spotted a faint blush on Lavi's cheeks. The red head chuckled.
"Let's just say I had to save up my wages for quite a bit to be able to afford it..."
"... Bookman doesn't know about this, does he..."
"Nope. He'd flip if he did."
Lenalee gave the compass back to Lavi with a smile. "I never knew he meant this much to you," she said, noticing gleefully how Lavi's expression went from embarassment to mild panic. Before he could counteract such a statement, someone knocked on the door. Swiftly, the red head tucked the compass back in it's box and placed it in his trouser pocket.
"Come in," he called.
The door opened. In the doorway stood a yawning sleepy Timothy, clutching his blanket and dragging it behind him as he walked into the room.
"You coming back t' sleep, Pigtails?" the boy mumbled. Lavi grinned at Lenalee's nickname.
"Sure, Timothy," Lenalee replied with a smile, ruffling the boy's hair fondly. She turned back towards Lavi and chuckled. "You'll explain things tomorrow, won't you?"
"T-there's nothing to explain!" Lavi said indignantly, blushing. Lenalee smiled and rolled her eyes then left the room with Timothy, shutting the door behind them. Lavi huffed. As he settled down to sleep he frowned, thinking back on Lenalee's questions. Why had he spent so much money and effort on Allen's birthday present? For some reason he found himself recalling Noah's Ark; the battles with the Noah, Chomesuke, almost dying. But one memory in particular stood out - his battle with Road. Waking up to find himself on fire, hearing Allen shout his name, feeling a hand on his as the white cloak that formed Allen's Innocence wrapped around both himself and the other boy, shielding them from flames he didn't remember creating. But most of all he remembered feeling Allen brush their foreheads together either accidentely or purposefully, he didn't know. And those words... The words 'Please come back' said so painfully, like Allen's heart was breaking. As Lavi drifted off to sleep and the memories faded, he heard a voice murmuring softly, calling from his subconscious as the power of dreams took a hold of him.
There once was a being
Whose heart was turned to stone,
It felt for none,
It cared for none
And it ended up alone.
Sleep descended upon him.
The next day dawned with the same heat as the day before. Even at 9 in the morning, when the Exorcists arose from their rooms, had a quick breakfast and left the Hotel Om Palace.
"Where's the old bâtard?" Timothy asked, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.
"He went somewhere last night, for some research, ya know? He said if he wasn't here by now that we should carry on with our mission without him." Lavi replied, pulling his bandana up from his neck onto his forehead. Krory yawned sleepily.
"Well then, shall we head off?"
The group set off walking in the direction of Khajuraho. They were intitially going to travel by train to their destination but they had been misinformed about there being a train that travelled from Satna to Khajuraho in their mission brief. Komui had probably already found out and slaughtered whoever had made the mistake, especially since Lenalee was on the mission.
It was going to be a long walk; 6 hours in the scorching heat with little to no shade along the way through the semi-desert surroundings. Less than half way Timothy started to fall behind, so Lavi gave the poor kid a piggy back. This earnt him a black eye, though the young French boy didn't turn down his offer anyway. Krory was soon complaining about the lack of water and Allen was soon complaining about being hungry. Lenalee lost her temper on multiple occasions. So, all in all, by the time they reached the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, all 5 of them were in foul moods.
"Greetings! Welcome to..."
"Get outta my way!"
The man who had come to greet them stood in shock as Lenalee brushed past him angrily, stomping as she went, trailing sand from her shoes as she passed. The rest of the group, looking sullen and exhausted, soon followed. The poor tour guide's shoulders slumped.
After a little bit of searching, and a little more walking, the group of Exorcists found the temple. The large structure had to be ancient; it was made of a building material similar to that of the Egyptian pyramids. The many erotic sculptures covering the outside of the temple, also, gave away its age.
"This temple was built in honour of the Hindu god Shiva," Lavi murmured, shielding his eyes with a hand as he looked at the temple with something close to appreciation on his face. Lenalee's eyebrow twitched.
"Let's just get this over with, hmm?" the girl said sharply, glaring at the red head who seemed far too interested in a statue of a naked woman. Lavi laughed sheepishly.
"Oi! Get off me, will ya!"
"Someone of your age should not see such innapropriate things," Krory said calmly, continuing to cover Timothy's eyes with a gloved hand. The boy pouted.
"It's okay, Krory, the statues inside are fine for Timothy to see," Allen murmured, looking around in awe. Places like this always left this impression on him; somewhere of religious importance, a feeling of time never changing, eternity trapped in one room or place. The white haired Exorcist smiled as the group walked up the steps leading to the main altar. In awe also, Krory lowered his hand.
The 4 boys turned towards Lenalee.
"What is it?" Allen asked, noticing the confusion on Lenalee's face. The girl looked around, frowning.
Quieting down, the others noticed it too. Where before there had been the background noise of tour guides and people walking from place to place, there was now only a heavy silence. It was deafening. Lavi fingered his hammer nervously. Then, they heard someone clap.
"Seems we can finally start the party, hmm?"
The Exorcists turned. Standing by a huge statue of Shiva was none other than Tyki Mikk. He gave them a pleasant wave as he took off his tophat and placed it on the floor. Everyone activated their weapons instantly.
"You're not taking the Innocence!" Lenalee shouted, her ruby boots reflecting the afternoon sunlight. Tyki simply laughed.
"Oh? And you will be the ones to stop us, hmm? What fun."
Behind the Noah appeared dozens of Akuma; Level Ones, Twos, Threes, even a few Level Fours. Allen could scarcely move from utter shock.
"My eye... why didn't it... ?"
Tyki laughed. "Yes, I was wondering about that also. That cursed eye of yours should have picked up these Akuma the instant they appeared anywhere near here. No matter..." the Noah said darkly, spreading his arms wide as a purple glow enveloped his hands. "Shall we dance?"
The battle began.
The Akuma darted forward like a unified monstrous blur, heading straight for the Exorcists. Allen gritted his teeth. Using Edge End, the first wave of Akuma flew backwards, destroyed almost instantaneously. The second came soon after. Lavi grew his hammer and used it almost like a giant baseball bat, the bright symbol for fire on the hammer's faces making the Akuma's features glow fiery red. The Level Twos didn't last long. Krory tried to keep as many Akuma away from Timothy as possible, using his fangs and nails as his mode of attack. Timothy had already used Divine Possession to possess a Level Two and was using it's disintergration ability to great effect.
Then Tyki joined the fray.
Allen had a split second to react before the Noah sent a wave of Dark Matter in his direction. He darted sideways. Transforming his left arm into the Soul of Exorcism, he blocked Tyki's next attack, gritting his teeth.
"Been a while, boy."
"It has, hasn't it. Can't say I've missed you."
"You're so cruel to me."
Tyki jumped backwards, smirking.
"Are you going to be able to protect your precious comrades this time, hmm? They seem out of their depth already."
Allen looked to his right. Tyki wasn't wrong; Lenalee was battling with a Level Four, struggling to restrain it's hands which were glowing with Dark Matter. Lavi was covered in cuts and bruises and surrounded on all sides by a number of Level Threes and Twos, his movements random and confused. Krory could no longer keep an eye on Timothy due to a Level Four doggedly dodging his attacks and Timothy himself was greatly outnumbered and could scarcely avoid the attacks of the Akuma surrounding him. Allen gritted his teeth in anger.
"Well, boy, what are you going to do? Let your friends die? You can't protect them whilst you're fighting me," Tyki said gleefully, noticing Allen's torn expression. "But if you try to go to them, I'll pull out that pretty little Lenalee's heart."
"Fuck you!" Allen cried, swinging his sword and missing Tyki by mere inches. The Noah laughed.
"My my, you've gotten ruder, boy."
Allen had no idea what to do. There was no way they were going to win this battle, that much was obvious. But how could they escape? They needed to find the Innocence, first and foremost. If they returned to the Order without it, there would be a lot of trouble to deal with. But where was the Innocence?
Suddenly, a shape darted past the two of them, a trail of Akuma following. Allen squinted. Who had just passed them?
"Oh? Seems one of your comrades is trying to flee," Tyki sneered. Allen ignored him and threw his sword at his face. Tyki ducked, smirking.
"You want to play rough? Fine, let's play rough."
Lavi ran through the temple as fast as his legs could carry him. The Akuma tailing him sent bullets his way, but he used his hammer to deflect them. What on Earth was happening to him?
A voice, a voice in his head. Murmuring to him. Calling to him. It was so distracting that he almost ran straight into a pillar. If he had the time, he would have laughed at his lack of direction. A Level Three sent a ball of sticky material his way, exploding on the pillar that Lavi ducked behind. As it collapsed, he ran into a passageway to his right, following the voice.
"If I'm going insane, Gramps is gonna kill me," Lavi murmured to himself, dodging this way and that to avoid more bullets. But even as he said it, he disagreed with himself. He could have sworn that Lenalee at least heard it too; Lavi heard her ask herself if she was hearing things just before a Level Two hit her and threw her backwards.
He was leaving his comrades to deal with all of the Akuma and Tyki, he knew that. But as he passed Allen he could read his expression like a book; he thought they were going to lose. And, if even Allen didn't believe that they could keep fighting, then they wouldn't keep fighting. So, if Lavi followed this voice, which was increasing in volume, and found the Innocence then Allen could make an Ark gate and get them out of there. Or Lenalee could use her Dark Boots to get them as far away from the temple as possible. If there would even be a temple by the end of the battle...
Lavi froze. The voice had been so loud that he could have sworn that someone had said those words in his ear. Looking to his left he saw a faint green glow eminating from a small passageway near his feet; he could get through if he crawled.
"Firestamp: Hellfire and Ash!"
A giant fiery serpent flew towards the Akuma at the end of the passage that he had just left. It would distract them long enough. He hoped...
Shrinking his hammer as small as possible, he got down on all fours and crawled through the small passageway, wincing as the stone ceiling rubbed slightly on a wound on his head. It was a tight fit. After about 20 seconds of crawling he reached a chamber that was just about high enough to allow him to stand up. The only light came from the bright green glow of what could only be a shard of Innocence.
The voice had completely dissipated now. Lavi could hear the Akuma in the cavern on the otherside of the passageway, trying to find him. He was running out of time. Walking forwards, he picked up the Innocence. Then he noticed it. His heart stopped.
Lying there, on the small pedestal where the Innocence had been, was a slip of paper. Just like the one from the church in France. It wasn't folded. On it was a neatly drawn map, showing a detailed view of a town called Bath. Picking it up with shaking fingers, Lavi placed it in his pocket and made his way back into the small passageway, his breathing shaky. What was this? Was the Heart trying to be found? Or was this all part of some bigger plan, one that he and everyone else didn't know about? His head was starting to hurt, blood dripping down his neck and onto the dusty stone floor.
When he exited the passageway and stood up, he noticed that the Akuma were gone. In fact, he couldn't hear fighting anywhere. His heart began to beat faster.
Starting to run, Lavi darted out back the way he had came earlier, noting that his serpent had managed to destroy a few Level Twos. As he ran he found himself thanking himself for having a perfect memory; the temple was almost like a maze. Chuckling to himself despite the situation, Lavi knew that Allen would be lost in seconds if left alone here.
Eventually, he reached the main chamber. It was empty. No bodies, no Akuma; nothing. Lavi's eyes widened.
"Where is everyone?"
He increased the size of his hammer instantly, fearing the worst. Then he heard someone cough painfully. Turning around sharply, he spotted the heel of someone's shoe; Lenalee. Lavi ran forwards, panicked. When he reached the girl, he noticed that she had a pretty severe wound on her arm and neck but apart from that was not badly injured. Lavi sighed in relief.
"A... Allen..." Lenalee breathed, her eyes pained. Lavi froze. Looking around, he saw an unconscious Timothy in Krory's arms, who was bleeding profusely from a head wound. Krory himself was on the verge of passing out, bleeding all over. But no Allen. Allen was missing.
"Allen's gone... Lenalee, where is he?" Lavi asked, placing his free hand on Lenalee's shoulder. The girl seemed on the verge of tears.
"I couldn't... stop him... Used... Ark gate... to... to..."
It all became clear.
"He used the Ark gate to bring Tyki and the Noah away from the temple..." Lavi murmured, numbness setting in. A tear slid down Lenalee's face.
- moyashi = beansprout (japanese)
- lǎo tóuzi = old geezer (mandarin chinese)
- gonkurame = dumbass bastard (japanese)
- bonjour, mes amis = hello, my friends (french)
- bien sûr, monsieur = of course, sir (french)
- bâtard = bastard (french)
- mademoiselle = miss (french)
- tais-toi = shut up (french)
- bonne chance = good luck (french)
- bâtard = bastard (french)
- wǒ kào = fuck me (mandarin)
Anyone who can de-code the code get cyber cookies ~ !
AN: The phrase "Hay is for horses, brat" is taken from a fanfic called Bookman by Dhampir72. It is a very very good fanfic (that is sadly discontinued) – well worth reading, trust me!
It's on this website so search it up when you have the time.
Hope you enjoyed this chapter! Reviews would be much appreciated ^v^